In my last post, I began reviewing three of the works of author Vladimir Nabokov, starting with Pale Fire. Today I’ll be reviewing the author’s best-known and most controversial work, Lolita. Grab a cup of something caffeinated and buckle up, because this is going to be a long one.

Content warning for pedophilia, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic abuse/domestic violence, gaslighting, misogyny, and racism. This review pulls no punches, and I’m not going to gloss over any of the ugliness espoused within this book.

It’s not surprising to me that despite his pedigree, writing career, and status in society, Vladimir Nabokov initially had a hard time finding a publisher willing to print this story. What does surprise me is the literary acclaim it garnered later, and the starry-eyed praise it received. Take this quote from the back cover of the copy I borrowed, for example:

“The only convincing love story of our century.” –Vanity Fair

I’d like to have a word with whoever approved using this quote to describe Nabokov’s ode to pedophilia– because, out of all the things Lolita is and isn’t, the thing it absolutely isn’t the most is a love story.

Perhaps the best lesson that can be taken from the accolades this story has received is just how deeply entrenched and socially normalized pedophilia is– and how badly that needs to change.

Continue reading “Vladimir Nabokov Part Two – Lolita”

Cyberpunk Is Evolving

I recently stumbled across an article that sums up what some people have been noticing for a while: cyberpunk is becoming increasingly distorted by its transition into the cultural mainstream.

Cyberpunk was sci-fi for those who saw the power of the computer, its mounting ability to overtake everything personal (attention, time, privacy), and were bracing for impact. It was speculative fiction for everyone wary of the growing influence of massive corporations and ready to be leaders in the technological rebellion.To reflect this, cyberpunk’s protagonists—the personalities that would become the face of the genre—were uniformly disobedient.

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Don't be one of many. Names matter.

Something came to a head recently that’s been bugging me for a long time: we (Westerners, especially those in the United States) need to get a lot more creative with our names.

Recently one of my employees pointed out the ridiculousness of creepy old men who demand to be on a first name basis with the people who work the front counter. In terms of accountability or identification, a first name means next to nothing. At my company alone, if you were helped by “Jessica” that could be Jessica in Cargo, Jessica in Fuels, Jessica in Accounting, or Jessica in Parts & Acquisitions.

This is a problem.

Continue reading “Names Matter”

Quote from Sam Sykes on Twitter

I stumbled across this tweet the other day and found myself wondering, why shouldn’t I sneer at books that soared to popularity by appealing to the lowest common denominator? Why would I care what makes them tick?

If you’re the kind of author who doesn’t care about the quality of their work nearly as much as becoming famous, you may be thinking “I agree with this tweet! What’s the magic formula that makes inexplicably popular books so successful? And how can I apply it to my own writing?!” In that case, here’s the breakdown.

Continue reading “Tackling More Questionable Writing Advice”